Just like humans, cockatiels often enjoy eating foods that are not healthy for them. Some foods don't have much nutritional value, while others can cause obesity. Some foods, however, are toxic and can cause illness and death. Avoid harmful foods and unhealthy treats to ensure your cockatiel companion has a long, happy life.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are generally the best types of natural food to give a pet bird. However, there are a few items that either don't provide much nutritional value or could be dangerous to a cockatiel's health. Iceberg lettuce is mostly water and can cause runny bowel movements. Romaine lettuce is a better choice. Large amounts of turnip greens, beet greens, parsley and spinach have elements that can interfere with a cockatiel's ability to absorb calcium. Finally, rhubarb is toxic and should never be given to cockatiels.
In the wild, many birds that are also kept as pets eat several kinds of fruits. A few fruit items, though, can be harmful to cockatiels. Seeds and pits from any fruit should be avoided. They contain small amounts of cyanide that could cause a toxic reaction. Avocado in any form is especially deadly to cockatiels. Veterinarians used to advise keeping birds away from avocado pits, but now they know the skin and fruit is just as deadly.
Feeding a playful and friendly cockatiel some treats intended for humans can be tempting, but is often an unhealthy addition to the diet. Chocolate and anything with caffeine, like coffee and soft drinks, is toxic. Snacks high in sugar is unhealthy. Pet birds, just like their human companions, can develop obesity from inactivity and diets high in sugar. Finally, anything with alcohol is toxic and could severely damage a cockatiel's liver.
A few other types of food should be avoided. Dairy products should not be fed to a cockatiel. Yoghurt, milk and cheeses contain lactose, and a cockatiel does not have the ability to digest this sugar. Some birds require grit from oyster shells, sand or gravel in their diets to aid in digestion. Cockatiels do not need grit. The substance can cause impaction in the bird's digestive system. Cockatiels can get calcium from egg shells, cuttlebones or mineral blocks.
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